The fissures continue to grow as the Anglican world moves closer to splitting into an orthodox Christian body that is jettisoning the corpse of Western Liberalism from its midst.
Last week the gathering of Anglicans in Philadelphia at the Hope and a Future Conference heard from a variety of Archbishops from the Southern Cone (Africa, Asia and South America) that among other things threw down the gauntlet to faithful Christians within The Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA). The Bishops said that the time for talk is over; it is time to stand for Christ and leave the unbelievers in ECUSA to their fate. Leave ECUSA and join the worldwide fellowship of orthodox Anglicans so that the Church can go forward with their mission. (Many believe that this exodus is dependent on the outcome of ECUSA’s General Council in 2006.)
Meanwhile, this week it was announced that The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) entered into a Covenant with two American Anglican bodies—the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America. This is the first of many steps toward a realignment of Anglican Christianity within the United States. Look for other Anglican bodies here in the United States (and Canada) to follow.
RE Covenant Between The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America.
In an historic moment, as part of the realignment of global Anglicanism, on November 12, 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Leonard W. Riches, Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and the Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of America, entered on behalf of their three Churches a Covenant Union of Anglican Churches in Concordat.
The purpose of the covenant of concord is to work together in the common cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, pledging to each other their mutual cooperation, support, discipline and accountability. Recognizing that all three Churches share a common heritage of faith and order within the Anglican tradition, they are united by saving belief in Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life, and by their commitment to the Faith once delivered, based on the irrevocable Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the final authority for faith and life.
It was agreed that ministers of these Churches, subject to the respective regulations within the jurisdictions, may be eligible to exercise pastoral ministry in each Church. Archbishops and bishops of the Churches in concordat may also be invited to conduct episcopal duties within the other jurisdictions with the blessing of the appropriate provincial authorities.
The three Churches have united specifically for joint mission in North America. Archbishops Riches and Grundorf welcomed the Church of Nigerias CANA initiative. They assured Archbishop Akinola that, wherever possible, individual congregations of all three jurisdictions, within proximate geographic locations, would work closely and cooperatively together to demonstrate their commitment to one another and their desire to witness to a consistent Biblical, Evangelical and Catholic expression of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Below is text of Covenant Union of Anglican Churches in Concordat
COVENANT UNION OF ANGLICAN CHURCHES IN CONCORDAT AMONG
THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION)
THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AND
THE ANGLICAN PROVINCE OF AMERICA
Whereas the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America share a common heritage of faith and order within the Anglican tradition; be it understood that:
Article 1: The Churches, recognizing the fact that they are working together in the common cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, pledge to each other, their mutual cooperation, support, discipline and accountability.
Article 2: Wherever possible, individual congregations within proximate geographic locations will work closely and cooperatively to demonstrate their commitment to one another and their desire to witness to a consistent Biblical, Evangelical and Catholic expression of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Article 3: As evidence of our union in Christ and the Common Standards of the faith existing among the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America, a delegation of ministers and laity may be sent to attend each others Provincial and General Synods or Councils. As a further demonstration of our union, bishops of the Churches may attend each others episcopal meetings with the expectation that they will be invited to speak but not cast votes.
Article 4: The Ministers of the Churches may, subject to the respective regulations of the Churches, be eligible to exercise pastoral ministry in each Church. Archbishops and Bishops of the Churches in the concordat may also be invited to conduct episcopal duties with accountability, discipline and the episcopal blessing of the local appropriate provincial authorities.
Article 5: Communicants of the Churches may be received into the other Churches on presentation of letters of transfer, or their equivalent.
Article 6: It is also our declared intention to initiate a process that will permit us, in due course to enter into an agreement of full communion with a clear and common understanding of all of its implications.